HC: Mention of religion on forms not must

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HC: Mention of religion on forms not must

No person in India can be compelled to declare his religion, Bombay high court has ruled.

Hearing a PIL by three residents of Maharashtra, a division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and A S Chandurkar directed the Union and state governments “not to compel any individual to declare or specify his religion in any form or any declaration”.

The court said that “every individual has the right to claim that he does not belong to any religion and that he does not practice or profess any religion”.

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No one can be told to list religion: HC

Shibu Thomas

Says Need Not Mention It In Govt Forms

Mumbai: No person in India can be compelled to declare his religion, the Bombay high court ruled on Tuesday while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction to the Maharashtra government to not insist on declaration of religion on official forms and documents.

The petition was filed by Dr Ranjeet Mohite, Kishore Nazare and Subhash Ranaware, who claimed to be members of Full Gospel Church of God, which they said had more than 4,000 members. Though they believe in Jesus Christ, they do not believe in Christianity or any other religion.

They approached the state printing press, seeking to issue a gazette notification that said that they were not Christians and belonged to “no religion”. The state rejected their application forcing them to file a PIL in the HC.

Hearing the PIL, a division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and A S Chandurkar directed the Union and state governments “not to compel any individual to declare or specify his religion in any form or any declaration”. The court said that “every individual has the right to claim that he does not belong to any religion and that he does not practice or profess any religion”.

The Centre and the Maharashtra government had opposed the petition, saying no reliefs could be granted.

They claimed that “no religion” in official forms cannot be treated as a religion or as a form of religion.

The HC reminded the governments that India is a secular, democratic republic with no state religion.

The court held that no state authority could infringe upon a person’s fundamental right under the Constitution of India (Article 25) of freedom of conscience and freely practicing, professing or propagating a religion. The HC said that if an individual is told by the state to disclose his religion, he can say that he does not practice or belong to any religion.

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6 Responses to “HC: Mention of religion on forms not must”

  1. asok kumar das 24 September 2014 at 10:26 PM #

    It is the first step only. In the next step
    the court will declare that one must not and
    MUST NOT declare one’s religion publicly. To declare one’s religion directly or indirectly will be declared a CRIME, will be declared by the court and
    by the civil and rational society. Because such declaration breeds many crimes, divides people help to grow hatred among different religious groups. Let rationalist people prepare their minds accordingly. Belief in religion is a private matter. It may be practiced privately and not publicly.

    asokdas charbak
    asokdas.godless@gmail.com

  2. Profile photo of Sumitra Padmanabhan
    sumitra padmanabhan 25 September 2014 at 10:41 AM #

    I think we Indians will gradually evolve into a stage when religion or rather one’s religious identity will become unimportant, unnecessary. inconsequential.

    But this verdict, for the time being is welcome. It will enable our children to prepare their children’s future based on this legal right.

    Many youngsters nowadays do not practice any religion and say so quite boldly. But are forced to write ‘Hindu’ or ‘Muslim’ on the basis of their names. This is ridiculous.
    So we should spread this news far and wide– let them know at least…that they are perfectly okay even without any specific, institutionalized religion.

    Hurray!!!!!

  3. Profile photo of Sumitra Padmanabhan
    sumitra padmanabhan 25 September 2014 at 10:50 AM #

    এর পর একটা সময় নিশ্চয়ই আসবে যখন ভারতেও আমাদের ধর্মীয় পরিচয় অনাবশ্যক ও গুরুত্বহীন হয়ে পড়বে।
    তার আগে এই আইনী ধাপটার প্রয়োজন ছিল। আমাদের ছেলে-মেয়েরা তাদের সন্তানদের ধর্মীয় তক্‌মা লাগাতে বাধ্য নয়– এটা জেনে রাখা তাদের দরকার ছিল।
    অনেক অল্পবয়সী ছেলেমেয়েরাই আজকাল কোনও ধর্মই পালন করেনা; আর এটা স্বীকারও করে; কিন্তু নাম-পদবীর কারণে তাদের পরিচয় ‘হিন্দু’, ‘মুসলিম’ ইত্যাদি লিখতে বাধ্য করা হয়। এটা হাস্যকর।

    আসুন এই খবরটা দিকে দিকে ছড়িয়ে দিই– সবাই জানুক যে কোনও ধর্মপরিচয় ছাড়াই বেঁচে থাকা যায়, নিশ্চিন্তে!

    সাবাস্‌!!!

  4. Dwijapada Bouri 26 September 2014 at 1:08 PM #

    Good news….I agree with Sumitra di

  5. Manish 6 October 2014 at 9:38 PM #

    Very Good news…

  6. Arnab Ghorui 30 October 2014 at 4:17 PM #

    From now I need not to write my religion.
    Hurray


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